vvvMarinaraThis is, hands down, one of my family’s favorite dinners.  I can’t claim any credit for this recipe; the changes I have made in the original are minimal.  I first found it on the back of an American Beauty bag of trio pasta (the one with three different pasta shapes in it).  The recipe is really simple and fast and the flavors are so good that even my Italian brother in-law gives this dish a two thumbs up.

I don’t use the trio pasta anymore. I prefer to use fusilli (spiral shaped), mostly because it holds the sauce and adds just the right amount of pasta in each bite.



Recipe by American Beauty Pasta


  • ¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or 1 t. garlic powder
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes, undrained
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 4 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (12 ounce) package pasta (a 1 pound package works just fine!)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. In 2 quart. saucepan heat oil and cook onion and garlic until tender, but not brown. Stir in tomatoes with liquid, parsley, sugar, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, drain. Toss pasta with sauce and place in 2 quart casserole or 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese and broil 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  3. A salad and some crusty bread goes well with this meal.

Looking good already.
Wait for it…

As a side note:  One evening I made this dish for my brother in-law and I left it under the broiler for too long.  The cheese got very toasty and dark brown.  I was really embarrassed, but my brother in-law got very excited.  “No, no!  That’s the way it is supposed to look!  Americans don’t cook it long enough.  This is perfect!”  Once my family tasted the browned cheese, they loved it.  The cheese in the picture that I have posted is just a golden brown.  I chickened-out on broiling it longer for this post.

Changes that you might want to try:

  • You can increase the heartiness of this marinara by adding cooked Italian sausage.  Cook the sausage, then add it to the marinara for the simmering process.
  • Make the dish spicier by adding a light sprinkle of dried red pepper flakes.

One more thing:  check out this link for an amazing array of pasta shapes and suggested uses of each shape.


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